Too Many Thoughts:
This will be short, I promise you.
Some poems are more equal than others.
So, Adele asked me to ask you to guess which poet had written this:
“If I should die,
You would dance needles down my spine,
If din rustled against window panes
Rope me in, and settle me in brine!”
So for a test, indulge Adele, and guess.
Please, my friends, this will make Adele’s day.
Adele see’s many hands up:
“O’ Hara”, too New York
“Kaiser”, too unsureofhisplaceintheworld,
“Tahmima”, too iamnottalkingaboutherfather,
“Bukowski”, too hipster,
“Plath”, too biased.
Someone every one respects but no has read:
It’s also the young girl, no not that one,
Chased away by Emily Dickinson’s gentlemen for scavenging the trash for badgers.
কথা #১: Jamdani
And I understand that you have a poem for Miss Bartoli?
Sadaf: “You are one of countless
Whose story was never told
And never will
As all records were burnt.
And you will never come forward
As your people brutalized you over again.
As your government
Washed its hands
Of you and your sacrifice
And doesn’t want to know
What you went through then.
And still are now
If you managed to survive.”
Sadaf, and you are the Director of Hay Dhaka,
A festival many people have decried as exclusionary to vast sections of the Bengali population.
What do you say to these critics?
Sadaf: “We want to push the boundaries of knowledge…..The idea is to take literature beyond an elite few, and make it engaging, accessible and relevant to a wider audience.”
Adele: All right, then.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
You spent your childhood abroad before moving here, yes?
So, how did you make that transition, especially you being the daughter of one of the most esteemed scientists in Bangladesh, Jamal Nazrul Islam.
Sadaf: “I was not interested to come here with my parents and couldn’t even speak Bangla language properly,..
At that time I was sixteen and it was huge cultural shock for me as I grew up in England,”
And how did you experience this shock?
Sadaf: “The idea of Bangladesh is terrifying to a lot of people,..The main perception? That the country is all about ‘floods and poverty’,”
Adele: That is very true, actually. Bangladesh has become virtually synonymous with poverty.
But what people fail to realize is that there is more to Bangladesh, like economic progress, and women’s empowerment,
Through the RMG sector.
And Bangladesh is always brimming with people ready to rejuvenate the country in the minds of foreigners, isn’t that right?
Sadaf: “We’ve kind of got the product ready. So now it’s kind of like,
‘Do come to Bangladesh’
…Sometimes we take them to a social initiative, an orphanage, maybe show them how women do microcredit,”
Adele: Tell us a little about women in Bangladesh, for us foreigners, in terms of advancement, and more specifically how you have contributed to this.
Sadaf: Eikhane….Khub interesting ekta ghotona ache. Ami ekta garments factorir shate jorito. To…um…ah…ekta Mae onek din dhore kaj korche, ebong…borong shey grame eshe ek joner shathe…
She met him…and she married him.…
Hae…to…ekhon garments factory te ekta day care ache,
So prothome ektu conservative je na ami tomar jonno provide korbo…To bollo je thik ache ami kaj kori, mae ke, Amar choto mae ke daycarey rakhbo kintu,
Um….bollo je thik ache tumi kaj koro, kintu, je ta tumi aye koro sheta tumi maeyr name ekta jomi Kine rakho.
Adele: How delightful!
I am afraid, though, that we are at the end,
The audience grows frustrated even as I do not speak,
So finally, how do you see yourself?
In regards to fitting in with the larger fabric of the country?
Sadaf: “…Amar mone hoy amar motoi, kintu, shobai”
Adele: Thank you. That’s all for today, folks.
Thank you Gerald Kaufman